Aging and the Religious Dimension

by L. Eugene Thomas, ed., Susan A. Eisenhandler, ed.


A ground-breaking collection on the religious dimension of aging.

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Cover image for Aging and the Religious Dimension

February 1994


Pages 272
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Religion/General

Aging and religion has been badly neglected in the field of Gerontology. This book, containing 13 chapters of original theory and research, is devoted to understanding the place that religion and spirituality hold in the lives of elderly persons. The authors, each experts in their own field, approach this issue from their backgrounds in the social sciences and the humanities.

Overall this is a ground-breaking collection: It is one of the first attempts to seek to understand the role that religion plays in the lives of elderly persons. Based on their various multi-disciplinary perspectives, the authors make use of a variety of qualitative and quantitative methodologies as well as personal narrative and literature to grapple with this issue. Finally, the book is unique in that it addresses scholars and students, including the educated layman, rather than the professional alone.

Table of Contents

Figures and Tables
Foreword by Harry R. Moody
Introduction: A Human Science Perspective on Aging and the Religious Dimension by L. Eugene Thomas and Susan A. Eisenhandler
Theoretical Perspectives
Values, Psychosocial Development, and the Religious Dimension by L. Eugene Thomas
From Loneliness to Solitude: Religious and Spiritual Journeys in Late Life by Barbara Payne and Susan McFadden
Case Studies
From Sacred to Secular: Memoir of a Midlife Transition toward Spiritual Freedom by Richard B. Griffin
The Way of the Religious Renouncer: Power through Nothingness by L. Eugene Thomas
Historical and Literary Studies
Aging and Spiritual Empowerment: The Stories of Oedipus and David by Stephen Bertman and W. Andrew Achenbaum
Fairy Tales and the Spiritual Dimensions of Aging by Allan B. Chinen
Spiritual Well-being, Maturity, and Aging: Biblical Illustrations by J. Gordon Harris
Honor Thy Mother: Aging Women in the Jewish Tradition by Dena Shenk
Participant Observation
A Social Milieu for Spirituality in the Lives of Older Adults by Susan A. Eisenhandler
Life Narrative and Spiritual Journey of Elderly Male Religious by Edward J. Quinnan
Interview and Survey Research
Generativity as Pragmatic Spirituality by Robert L. Rubinstein
Religiosity and Fear of Death in Non-Normative Aging by Sheldon S. Tobin, Elise N. Fullmer, and Gregory C. Smith
Gero-Transcendence: A Theoretical and Empirical Exploration by Lars Tornstam
For Further Reading



For far too long, religion hs been ignored as an area of study in gerontology; this volune examines the role relgigion plays in human development and aging...The marriage of social science and humanities paradigms opens new and exciting horizons in gerontology.— Bulletin, The General Theological Library of Bangor

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